A new venture between Sir Peter Jackson and Rings Scenic Tours, will allow visitors to access the Hobbiton Movie Set on the Matamata farm location in New Zealand – scene of The Lord of the Rings films and now The Hobbit films.

The award-winning Kiwi film-maker responsible for the trilogy and currently The Hobbit films, has gone into joint partnership with the operator of Hobbiton Movie Set based in Matamata.

They have formed ‘Shire Tours’ offering fans the chance to step onto the actual movie set from the films.

Lord Of The RingsHobbiton
Hobbiton, near Matamata in the Waikato region, was largely dismantled after The Lord of the Rings filming ended, but has still drawn about 200,000 visitors since 2002.

The set has recently been rebuilt at the original location on the Alexander Farm near Matamata and will be used later this year for both films based on The Hobbit.

The location will be closed to the public during that time but meantime Shire Tours continue to attract a steady flow of visitors keen to walk the Hobbit paths, peek into Hobbit holes and stand beneath the famous ‘Party Tree’.

Joint Venture
Sir Peter Jackson’s Wingnut Films Productions Limited and Rings Scenic Tours Limited have been in discussions for some time and finalized the joint venture arrangement on January 24.

Sir Peter Jackson said the Hobbiton film set would be a centrepiece in The Hobbit, as it was in The Lord of the Rings. “We are really excited to be able to offer fans of the films the chance to walk around and explore this beautifully crafted set,” he said.

“There will be a lot of detail there for everybody to see,” said Shire Tours general manager Russell Alexander. “I’m delighted to be involved. This is a wonderful movie location and I look forward to introducing visitors to a truly unique experience.”

Boost To Tourism
Prime Minister John Key, who is also the tourism minister, hailed the partnership as “just one example of how the filming of The Hobbit will boost tourism, create thousands of jobs and have ongoing benefits for the New Zealand economy.”

Tourism New Zealand says visitor numbers to New Zealand increased by an average of seven per cent a year between 2000 and 2004 when interest in The Lord of the Rings was at its peak.
In 2004 alone, the estimated expenditure of those who visited “mainly or only” because of the film was $32.8 million.

For more information visit www.hobbitontours.com